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Color Theory for Jewelry Makers: Part 2

This guest post was written by Corissa McClay for MakerCraft.

As we move into fall things are getting rainy and dark, and people start adding color to their outfits to fight back the weather-change blahs. That makes it the perfect time for the second post in our Fashionable Color Theory series!


Last time we went over the color wheel and monochromatic and analogous color schemes (Go here if you missed it).

They’re fairly simple color palettes, and great for accenting and spicing up an already colorful summer outfit.  But the fall makes us (me particularly) ready for something a bit more complex, or eye-catching. So this time we’ll be diving into a couple more color schemes suited to fall.


A complementary color scheme is made up of two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel. One of those is what makes the fall so lovely:

Complementary color schemes are great, because there’s so many ways to use them, and they’re so easy to recognize. They really pop, because the two play off of each other making each seem brighter and more bold. That makes them the perfect antidote to a rainy autumn.

You can use them a couple different ways too. For something subtle you can pair a single color piece of jewelry with clothes that complement it. You can also go bolder and use the complements in a single piece.


The triad color scheme is exactly what it sounds like: Three colors. The trick though is picking the right colors. In this case it’s three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel, like so:


The triad creates a vibrant design. A word to the wise though; Pick one color to be dominant. If you try to balance all three colors equally the design can become confusing and difficult to follow. Balance it right, with one dominant and two accents and you’ll have a harmonious design to brighten your day.

Once again, pairing this with clothes is easier than it might seem. You have three colors to pick from. To make your jewelry a bit more subtle you should match you clothing colors to the dominant color of the piece. That will make it blend in a bit more, and let the accent colors be your main contrast. Flip that approach, with one accent matching your clothing, and you’ll have a design that springs out and takes center stage.

That’s the basics of complementary and triadic color schemes. Take some time and play with them, and see what you come up with. In the next post of this series we’ll talk about black and white, and how to use them with other colors, and by themselves.